3 Step Turn – direct rein steering, bending

I have been doing this a lot lately with my students through whatever activity we are doing.

The 3 Step Turn

In it’s simplest form:

  1. Start the turn
  2. Turn
  3. Finish the turn

For a beginner (direct rein and looking):

  1. Start the turn – turn your horse’s nose the direction you want them to go – this prepares them
  2. Turn – direct rein steer by moving your hand to your hip, and look where you want your horse to go – this turns them and tells them where to go
  3. Finish the turn – bring your hands back side by side – this straighten your horse out

For the more advanced rider (all the cues for bending):

  1. Prepare the turn
    1. create a slight bend in the direction you want the horse to go by tipping their nose to the inside just enough you can see the corner of their eye
    2. shift weight slightly to inside seat bone, but don’t lean – deepen inside knee to prevent inside side from collapsing
    3. begin looking the direction you want the horse to go
  2. Turn – use all the aids to bend the horse
    1. inside direct rein, squeeze softly on the rein, flexes horse to inside, don’t cross hand over mane or their neck will bend too much
    2. outside supporting rein, gentle even contact, gives enough to allow flexion needed but prevent bulging the outside shoulder
    3. inside leg at girth squeeze to ask horse to bend around it, acts as a pivot point, asks inside hind to reach forward
    4. outside supporting leg behind girth to keep his hind from moving sideways
    5. look through the turn with your eyes and core/belly
    6. goal: even arc from horse’s head to tail, maintaining contact and rhythm
  3. Finish the turn
    1. straighten the horse out

It’s been very helpful. I use lots of verbal prompts at the beginning then start taking them away to see if they will remember all 3 steps. Hope it helps you!


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *